Wednesday, September 26, 2012

2012.09.26 Outrageous!!??

I had an outrageous thought just this morning, one so heretical I gave it a mental cancellation—but it wouldn’t go null or void. 

I thought: What if writing were not all that important and as crucial to communications as educators and others, writers for example, think?

I’d been reading laments and worrisome statistics about the high percentages of today’s college students who simply don’t know how to write, that is to construct an intelligible sentence with decent grammar and punctuation.  It seemed a catastrophe. How would they get jobs? Get along in their relationships? Write papers?  Sermons?  Be a professional of any kind???—and more.

I’m a word person. I love words all by themselves,  and words strung together to make a meaning. I’m also someone who has always loved to read which is how I learned that writing was important.  I’m also a wordy, and sometime last-wordy, person. AND I write books—not for a living I’d starve. Still, to say in writing what I mean so that other literate persons can understand means my life to me—it’s a sacred practice.

Could my heretical insight mean that a whole new language, way of writing is emergent? A whole new language evolving thanks to the internet and texting? What if abbreviations and shorthands and acronyms become the way to write—for everyone? 

Esperanto didn’t work well as a universal language. Language is too personal, a sign of one’s identity, one’s flavor.  Who would sing their ABC’s?  Or practice each stroke of lovely symbolic letters of Eastern languages?  Will we have a language called Unitext? Scriptext? OMGI<3u br="br" dlt="dlt" pos.="pos.">
This is crazy. Or is it?

If it’s not nutz (see?) I hope I’ll be dead to “see” it.  And even more dead if Robo-books (books put together by googling a title of interest and then compiling all the data on that topic into a book which Nimble Books will then print and bind and sell for cents—automated publishing and a proliferation of books of all kinds) becomes the norm. 

Ah well LOL..........what the wise priest in the Bible, Qoheleth of Ecclesiastes, wrote is true: There is  nothing new under the sun.  Thank Godde everything IS under the sun.


Modern Victorian said...

Oh dear, Robo-books?! What an awful idea! Are we getting to be old fuddy-duddies? Maybe "when I was your age, I read two books a week" is right up there with "when I was young I walked 10 miles to school uphill in a snowstorm".

Martha said...

I don't see reading or writing going away - ever. And as a lover or words, books, libraries, and anything to do with books and ideas, I believe that every culture/civilization has a deep desire to communicate by writing - or drawing. I do wonder if communication will include more visual aspects in the future - so many movies, videos, youtube, etc.
But I think that the love of reading, knowing how to write, etc. may remain, as it often has been in the past, the domain of the educated elite. My own children, in their excellent public schools, learned all of the above, and like their colleague students have come out of school very sophisticated in reading and writing. But not every child is so lucky. Some may be stuck with mysterious text messages because they really can't read and write.

Susan Oleksiw said...

I came across a computer generated book in the early 1990s and it was awful. A writer brought it into a class I was teaching to show us "the future." Everyone who looked at the book had one reaction in common (among many other reactions)--it felt and sounded dead. Computers cannot write books as we know them. The new technique--robo books--is taking other people's work without even sifting it for relevance or quality. You would think we could do better--and that we would want to.